December 10, 2018

Does my cat get lonely when I’m at work?

Does my cat get lonely when I'm at work?

(Q) I have a seven-month-old rescue cat called Izzie who is often left on her own while I’m at work. I’ve spotted another cat needing a home who is a similar age and wondered whether it would be good to get Izzie a bit of company?

(A) Behaviourist Jon Bowen says: Below the age of two years, cats are generally more receptive to the arrival of another cat. However, individuals vary a great deal in terms of their sociability; some like being around other cats and some prefer to be alone. For those who prefer to be solitary it can be immensely stressful to have another cat join the home.

You don’t say whether Izzie is an indoor-only cat, or how much space she has access to. If she has outdoor access, my advice is that she does not need a companion. If she is sociable she has the chance to find companionship among the cats living in your area.

If she’s indoors, then perhaps having a companion would be good for her. However, there is a trade off between companionship and space; the amount of space per cat has been shown to be a factor in increasing stress. So, if you live in a small flat then adding another cat could increase stress for her.

Make sure that the environment Izzie has is as close to ideal as it can be: lots of places to hide and climb, free access to food and water, some activity toys and feeders, and try to amuse her with games. If she seems happy with this, then don’t worry about getting another cat.

If you do decide to get another, a female of the same age is the best choice. If there is any tension, I would suggest not pursuing it any further.

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